There are two kinds of sounds in English – sounds that are voiced (the voice is on) and sounds that are voiceless (the voice is off). There are 16 single consonants and consonant digraphs that are voiced: /b/, /d/, /g/, /j/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /q/, /r/, /v/, /w/, /y/, /z/, and /th/ (as in “the”, “this” & “their”) There are 8 single and 3 consonant digraphs that are voiceless (just air as if whispered): /c/, /ch/, /f/, /h/, /k/, /p/, /s/, /sh/, /t/, /x/ and /th/ (as in “thumb”, “birthday” and “mouth”) It is essential that teachers NOT do two things when teaching the sounds of letters: Voiced sounds, by the nature of being “voiced”, already have an /uh/ (aka – schwa) after the letter sound. For example, the sound of the letter B sounds like “buh” and the hard G sounds like “guh”. The key is that the “uh” needs to be very short, so teachers should NOT hold on to the “uh” sound. Actually, the only voiced sounds that have the hint of “uh” would be B, D, G, J, Q, W and Y. The M, N, R, V, Z and voiced TH letter sounds do not have [...]
If we immerse our students in activities that connect print and sound utilizing Visual Phonics hand shapes and written symbols, they will use these “tools” when they are processing print without being told to do so (especially the visual-kinesthetic learners). When the teacher models hand shape & written symbol use throughout the day and embeds VP hand shape/written symbol use into learning centers, the value of the method shows up due to frequent, intense & dynamic implementation. Consider this piece of ancient wisdom: If you give a man a fish he eats for a day . . . when you teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime. When we immerse our students in Visual Phonics hand shape and symbol use, they will use them more often, and will do so independently. What a truly great way to empower our students!